Friday, January 1, 2010

Peanut Butter Candy Rolls

I was thinking the other day, it's time for someone else in my family to start learning this recipe. So maybe if I post the recipe, they'll want to try it out. It really is yummy, but a bit temperamental. It begins easily enough with 3 cups of sugar, 3/4 cups of light Karo syrup, 1 cup of hot water and a teaspoon of vanilla in a 3 quart saucepan. Cook this mixture on high, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Then turn the heat down to low and stop stirring.

You can do the next step the hard way or the easy way. I did it the hard way for a long time, then my wonderful husband bought me a candy thermometer, and as a result I have had to dump far fewer batches of this candy in the trash since then because I overcooked it. Anyway, keep the mixture cooking over low heat until it spins a thread when dripped from the spatula (or until the candy thermometer says 230 degrees). This first part happens pretty quickly, so don't walk too far away from the stove.

In fact, while you're waiting you can whip three egg whites (that are at room temperature) until they are stiff.

Then when the mixture on the stove reaches 230 degress, carefully pour half of it into the egg whites, while the mixer is still going, in a thin stream. This is easier said than done without making a huge sticky mess along the side of the bowl and all over the counter.
I realized a couple of years ago that it works much better with a smaller saucepan with a nice handle than with Mom's big heavy sauce pan I stole from her that has two short handles!
Then return the other half back to the stove and the heat. Continue to cook it until the mix forms a hard ball in a cup of cold water OR until the candy thermometer says 260 degrees. This is the hardest part of the recipe for me, because it seems to take forever. This is often where I mess up because I'm too impatient to wait, I take it off early and it turns out to be to soft. OR I walk away and it gets too hot and I get little tiny hard crystals of sugar in my mix.

By the way you should change the mixture attachment from the thin whisky one to the big heavy white one for the next part. Keep the mixer running while you wait for the stuff on the stove to reheat. When it has reached 260, pour it in as before, in a thin stream, while the mixer is running.
This is the second hardest and longest part. You have to keep it mixing until the white stuff is really stiff, but not too stiff. Stiff enough to touch without sticking to your finger too much. Stiff enought to hold it's shape and not melt back down into a shapeless blob.
Once again, technology has saved me here. I lost count of the number of hand-held mixers whose motors I burned out making this recipe, but it's in the double-digits. But then Steve's dad bought us a wonderful Kitchenaid super duper heavy duty mixer and it works miracles.

Ok, once the mixture gets stiff, sprinkle some powerdered sugar on a flat surface. Put the white stuff on it and roll it out like a pie crust. USE LOTS OF POWDERED SUGAR. It's very sticky!

Once it has been rolled out flat, spread creamy peanut butter all over it.
And make sure to get as messy as possible, this is the fun part! Then roll it up, slowly and carefully like a jelly roll. It helps to have a knife handy, that is also covered with powdered sugar, since there are usually a few soft places where it sticks.
Then slice it into pieces like a salami.
Then Voila! Peanut Butter Roll Candy!
Now who's making it next year?

Happy 2010!

By the way, that is cranberry juice and sprite in the glasses.